The Wahls protocol is a form of the Paleo diet that is lauded for its successes in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). Terry Wahls, author of the protocol, says this approach stopped her progressive MS. The approach uses a combination of functional medicine and Paleo principles to halt MS. Use these five diet and lifestyle tips from the Wahls protocol to improve your body’s chances of halting the progression of MS.
1. Get vitamins from food, not pills. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids should be absorbed from food rather than pills and supplements. Dr. Wahls adopted the nutrient-rich Paleo diet, refining and integrating it into a regimen of neuromuscular stimulation.
2. Stop separating breakfast from the rest of your meals. Breakfast foods are a uniquely American habit. Instead of obsessing over grain substitutes like mock breads and cereals, eat a normal meal. Steak and eggs, sausage, even hamburger patties make healthy breakfasts for those suffering from MS and other autoimmune conditions.
3. Get aerobic exercise. A recent study led by Victoria Leavitt and James Sumowski, from Kessler Foundation, provides the first evidence for beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on brain and memory in individuals with MS. In that study, aerobic exercise resulted in a 16.5 percent increase in hippocampal volume, a 53.7 percent increase in memory, and increased hippocampal resting-state functional connectivity. Non-aerobic exercise resulted in little change.
4. Don’t eat only meat. While Paleo diets are famous for meat consumption, autoimmune and even Wahls protocol diets can be light in meat or even meat-free. Even standard Paleo dieters often eat more vegetables than even vegetarians and vegans. A cornerstone of Wahls protocol is feeding the mitochondria in our bodies with nine cups of vegetables and fruits daily. Mitochondria are the cell’s power producers, which convert energy and coordinate communication between cells. Every cell contains mitochondria, some cells contain thousands of them. To keep your body running well and halting the progress of MS, you need mitochondria to do the job for you. That means feeding your body lots of vegetables.
5. Boost your veggies with fats. Always eat your vegetables with a healthy fat in order to boost absorption. Avocado, coconut oil, lard and tallow are all healthy fats that can boost your absorption of all the healthy vitamins and nutrients in your veggies. When you have that giant salad many Paleo dieters live on, be sure it’s topped with fats or served alongside a cup of bone broth.
As with any dietary change, consult your doctor to ensure your nutrition adjustments are healthy for your particular autoimmune condition.
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